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[p2-dev] Problem using p2 to install plugin

I know that the "-dev" mailing lists are not meant for user problems, but there doesn't seem to be a p2-specific user newsgroup. Please feel free to tell me where to go, if I'm in the wrong place. :)
I have a feature that was originally developed for Eclipse 3.2 and has been working with minor bug fixes ever since. We want to support Eclipse 3.5, and the only ways I can manage to get it enabled are somewhat hacky.
The following install procedures both work smoothly:
1) Add -Dorg.eclipse.equinox.p2.reconciler.dropins.directory=<install directory>
2) Enable the "Classic Update" capability in preferences, and add an extension location that points to the same <install directory> as above.
Neither of these are very good options for us to tell our customers to use. Besides, we'd like to keep up with the times and make our feature/plugins "p2 enabled".
Using the new "Install New Software" in Eclipse 3.5, adding the location above as a site, and choosing to install our feature, I get the following error message: "Cannot complete the install because one or more required items could not be found.
Missing requirement: 1248373809037 requires '<feature id>.feature.group [4.10.0]' but it could not be found" (where <feature id> is the symbolic name of my feature, and 4.10.0 is the version # for everything involved).
Now, there's nothing named "<feature id>.feature.group" in any of my Manifest.mf or feature.xml files, but from 2 days of web searches and trying various things, this id appears to be part of the metadata that p2 generates when there are no pre-generated content.xml or artifacts.xml files in the install location. The thing is, I get basically the same message after using the export wizard on my feature, generating the content.xml and artifacts.xml files, when trying to install from the exported location. The number at the beginning of that error message appears to be the timestamp from the time I attempted the install, since it changes each time I try. However, that number is never the same as the value in p2.timestamp in the generated content.xml file.  I tried using the FeaturesAndBundlesPublisher from the command line, and unsuprisingly, that didn't seem to really make any difference in the content of the .xml files.
All of my plugins and plugin fragments are at the same revision as my feature (4.10.0). My feature "includes" 3 plugins, one of which depends on the other (the 3rd is a help page), and 2 plugin fragments for localization. I've tried removing the plugin fragments, in case those were the nameless thing causing the failed dependency, but that made no difference. How can I figure out what it is that is causing the failed dependency? The error shows up in the log 4 times, which seems like once for the feature, and once for each of the plugins, but that's just speculation on my part. If there's no easy answer, I'm willing to step through the installer code to try to figure this out, but I don't know where to start. Which project should I be checking out of CVS? I couldn't find anything labelled org.eclipse.equinox.p2, but I might be going blind.
Kristina Taylor